How to reset or change a password on your iPhone

Ray Fernandez

Jul 17, 202310 min read

How to change a password on your iPhone or reset it (Header image)

Online security has never been more vital, which is why regularly changing your passwords is a recommended security practice. Fortunately, if you need to change the password on your iPhone, you can do so by following a few simple steps. In this guide, you’ll learn all about iPhone passwords and passcodes, how to change and reset them, what they’re used for, and more.

What your iPhone passcode and password are used for

First off, there’s a difference between your Apple ID password and your iPhone passcode. The first provides access to your Apple account, while the second is used to unlock your iPhone for use. In both cases, Apple’s encryption security is so strong that even the FBI can’t crack it. So once you’ve set your passcode and passwords, it’s important to remember them. Otherwise, you’ll have to go through complex recovery and reset processes.

Even if you choose to unlock your iPhone with Face ID or Touch ID, there are times when you still need to know your passcode to unlock your phone. And while Face ID and Touch ID are great time-savers for streamlining processes like entering user IDs and website passwords or making payments, Apple adds additional verification requirements to certain processes. This means that even if you are using your Face ID or Touch ID, you will still need to remember and enter your passcode from time to time.

Your iPhone will ask you for your passcode when you:

  • Haven’t unlocked your iPhone for more than 48 hours
  • Turn on or restart your phone
  • Press the Home button or swipe up to unlock your device (this can be disabled in Settings)
  • Update your software
  • Erase your device
  • View or change passcode settings
  • Install iOS Configuration profiles

Additionally, your passcode will need to be entered if:

  • You haven’t unlocked your iPhone with the passcode in the last 6 days, and you haven’t unlocked it with Face ID or Touch ID in the last 4 hours
  • Your iPhone received a remote lock command
  • There are five unsuccessful attempts to unlock your iPhone with Face ID or Touch ID
  • An attempt to use Emergency SOS is initiated
  • An attempt to view your Medical ID is initiated
  • You make changes to payments settings or other phone settings that require additional verification

How to change the passcode on iPhone

Want to change your iPhone passcode? No problem! All you need is your current passcode to change it. (If you can’t remember it, skip ahead to the section on how to reset your passcode.)

How to change your passcode on iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. If your iPhone has Face ID, tap Face ID & Passcode. If not, tap Touch ID & Passcode.
  3. Select Change Passcode.
  4. Enter your current Passcode.
  5. At the bottom of the screen, you can select Passcode Options to view different types of security passcodes. The most secure options are Custom Alphanumeric Code and Custom Numeric Code.
  6. Select the option you prefer.
  7. Enter your new Passcode.

Note: Once you have set your new iPhone passcode, you can add Face ID or Touch ID for extra security. However, remember that you will still need to enter your passcode to unlock your iPhone at times.

How to change your iPhone’s lock screen settings

Users can customize many aspects of their iPhone security. But how do you change your iPhone lock screen settings?

 To change Face ID settings:

  • Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Set up Face ID, then follow the onscreen instructions.
  • You also can set an additional appearance for Face ID. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Set Up an Alternate Appearance, then follow the instructions onscreen.
  • Tap Accessibility Options during Face ID if you have physical limitations. In this mode, facial recognition doesn’t require the full range of head motion.
  • Finally, you can also use Face ID to unlock your phone while you wear a facemask or any other covering that blocks your mouth and nose. On iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14 models, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode, turn on Face ID with a Mask, and follow the onscreen instructions.

Want to know how to change your passcode to use Touch ID and add a fingerprint? You can follow the steps below. 

To change Touch ID settings and a fingerprint: 

  • Go to Settings  > Touch ID & Passcode.
  • Tap Add a Fingerprint.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions. 

Can you reset your passcode if you forgot it?

The quick answer is no. There is absolutely no way to reset your iPhone passcode if you forget it. Do not waste time or money on online hacks that claim to be able to do so. They will not work and can even damage your phone. The only option you have is to reset your iPhone.

After you erase your iPhone, you can restore your data and settings from a backup or set your iPhone up as a new device and then download any data you have saved in iCloud. Note that if you enter your passcode incorrectly six times in a row, the phone will be disabled. Here’s how to change a passcode on iPhone. This process works on all models, including the Apple 12.

To reset passwords on iPhone: 

  1. On a Mac or PC, open iTunes. (In macOS Catalina or later you just need to connect your iPhone, and you’ll see it right in Finder. If you’re on a PC, make sure it has Windows 10 or later and that iTunes is installed.) 
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer by its cable.
  3. Turn off your iPhone. 
  4. Set your iPhone in Recovery mode. This process varies by iPhone model. For iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and later, or iPhone SE, use the side button. For iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, use the Volume down button. Finally, for iPhone SE (1st generation), iPhone 6s, and earlier, use the Home button.
  5. Keep holding the button and keep your phone connected to the PC until you see the Recovery mode screen on your iPhone. Then let go. 
  6. Find your iPhone in Finder or iTunes. 
  7. Choose Restore when you see the option to Restore or Update. 
  8. Your computer will go through the recovery process. 
  9. Disconnect your phone from the computer and set up your iPhone. 

How to change your iCloud/Apple ID password

Many users mistakenly think that Apple ID and iCloud are one and the same. This confusion stems from users accessing Apple ID and iCloud with the same email. However, your Apple ID is a username for you to identify yourself on all Apple products and access services like iMessage, iCloud, the iTunes Store, and the Apple Store. It also allows you to shop for products such as games, music, and applications from the Apple Store.

On the other hand, iCloud helps users synchronize and access their data on multiple Apple devices. All your data, including photos, files, notes, and more, is stored securely in your iCloud and is available wherever you are.

How to change your password on Apple ID

Changing your password for your Apple ID is simple — as long as you know your old password.

How to change your password on Apple ID:

  1. Go to Settings > your name > Password & Security.
  2. Tap Change Password.
  3. In Apple ID settings, change your Apple ID password on your iPhone.
  4. Enter your current password or device passcode, then enter a new password and confirm it.
  5. Tap Change or Change Password.

How to reset your Apple ID password

If you forgot your Apple ID password, you will have to reset it. The easiest way is to use your iPhone or another Apple device already signed in to your Apple ID.

How do I reset my Apple ID password? Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your name > Password & Security > Change Password.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions to reset your password.
  4. You will be asked to enter your passcode or verify your identity with two-factor authentication (2FA). 
  5. You will receive a verification code on your phone or via email.
  6. Once you receive the 2FA code and enter it or enter your passcode, you will be asked to enter a new Apple ID password once and then a second time for verification.

If you don’t have your iPhone, you can do a similar process via the Forgot Apple ID password method on the Apple Support App.

How long does it take for the Apple ID password to reset?

The password reset process should be instant once you complete the steps. However, some users claim that it can take up to several minutes or a couple of hours to completely reset, especially if you reset the Apple ID password using a computer instead of your phone.

If you are unable to reset your password, even after being provided with 2FA, email, or trusted questions reset options, and you initiated an account recovery process through Apple. Just be prepared to be patient. The process can take several days or even longer than a week. Eventually, Apple will send you a text or make an automated phone call with instructions for you to regain access to your account.

How to change your Screen Time passcode

Apple’s solutions for restricting content and screen time, mainly oriented toward parents overseeing their children’s phone use, are quite ingenious. But you need to remember the Screen Time passcode and make sure your child does not crack the code.

If you have to change the Screen Time passcode:

  1. Ensure your device is updated to iOS 13.4 or iPadOS 13.4 or later. 
  2. Go to Settings > Screen Time. 
  3. Tap Change Screen Time Passcode, and then Change Screen Time Passcode again.
  4. Enter the Apple ID and your current Screen Time password.
  5. Choose a new Screen Time passcode, and enter it again to confirm.

How to reset your Screen Time password

If you forgot your Screen Time password, don’t worry. Just follow these steps.

To reset the password for your child’s device:

  1. On the family organizer’s device, go to Settings > Screen Time.
  2. Choose your child’s name under Family.
  3. Tap Change Screen Time Passcode, then select Change Screen Time Passcode again.
  4. Depending on your configuration, you will have to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or your device passcode.
  5. Enter a new Screen Time passcode, then enter it again to confirm.

To reset it on your personal device:

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time.
  2. Tap Change Screen Time Passcode, then tap Change Screen Time Passcode again.
  3. Tap Forgot Passcode?
  4. Enter the Apple ID and passcode.
  5. Enter a new Screen Time passcode, then enter it again to confirm.

How to change other passwords on your phone

All Apple services like Apple Music, iCloud, iMessage, and FaceTime are accessed with your Apple ID username and password and are streamlined when you set up your passcode and activate your Face ID or Touch ID. This means you should be able to access these services instantly without typing in passwords. If you need to change your password for an individual Apple service, you must change or reset your Apple ID password. To do this, follow the steps listed above in the Apple ID section.

How to change your email password

When it comes to email services not provided by Apple (for example, Gmail, Yahoo, and others), you must follow the steps provided by these third-party apps. So how to change passwords on your iPhone can depend on what site you use. 

For example, to change your password in Gmail:

  1. Open the Gmail app.
  2. At the top right, tap your profile picture or initials and select Google Account.
  3. At the top, tap Personal info.
  4. Under Basic info, tap Password.
  5. Enter your new password, then select Change Password.

You can follow similar steps for other email providers like Outlook or search their official support pages for step-by-step email password changes.

How to change your passcode for Notes

You can lock Notes on your iPhone with two options: your passcode and Face ID or Touch ID, or by creating unique passwords for individual Notes.

To change your Notes password:

  1. In the Settings app, tap Notes.
  2. Tap Password.
  3. Select the Notes to the account you want to change, then tap Change Password.
  4. Use Face ID or Touch ID, or enter your previous notes password.
  5. Enter a new password and password hint.

How to set a new voicemail password

If you need to change your voicemail password for some reason, you can do that on your iPhone, too. 

To change the voicemail password on iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll and select Phone (the green phone icon).
  3. Tap Change Voicemail Password.  
  4. If you already have a password for your voicemail or have set your passcode as your password, type your current password. If not, set a new voicemail password. 
  5. Tap Done. 
  6. Reenter your new password to confirm it, and you are all set! 

By now, you can understand why iPhone smartphones are known as the most secure devices. The password settings and options you get are extensive with Apple. However, these settings can be overwhelming at times, despite the many support pages and options designed to simplify user authentication. Hopefully, his guide has helped you navigate through everything related to passcodes and passwords on your iPhone. And for more helpful info on protecting your privacy, check out our guide to Private Browsing on iPhone. Stay safe! 

Ray Fernandez Ray Fernandez
Ray has been covering tech and cybersecurity for over 15 years. His work has appeared on TechRepublic, VentureBeat, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and the Microsoft Blog, among others.